By Pejman Akbarzadeh (source: Holland Times)
Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of Persian Empire during the Achaemenid dynasty. It was built by the king Darius I in the 6th century BC and completed during the reign of his son, Xerxes I (518-465 BC). Based on various historical sources Persepolis was set on fire by Alexander III of Macedon during the invasion of Persia in 330 BC. Persepolis, which is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has impressed countless visitors for centuries.
The Dutch National Museum of Antiquities (RMO) in Leiden has organised an exhibition to present the engravings, paintings and photographs by the European travellers and archaeologists who have visited Persepolis since the 14th century AD. The collection provides an interesting insight into the magnetic attraction of the palace.
Highlights of Persepolis Exhibition in Leiden
(Video: Persian Dutch Network)
Persepolis is one of the most fascinating archaeological sites in the ancient world but relatively less attention has been paid to it. The palace complex still strikes awe into every visitor who sees its vast size and the great beauty of the monuments for the first time. Every year more than two million people visit the site, mostly during the Persian new year 'Nowruz' in late March, the beginning of spring.
In the exhibition in Leiden, a few objects are displayed by way of illustration: they include a unique camera with travelling equipment dating from 1858 and a number of original little bags containing finds from the first excavations in 1931. The exhibition is not confined to the period before the first archaeological excavations, but also looks at the work of the earliest researchers and the archaeologists of today, as well as the stories of a family that has lived in the vicinity of the ancient city for generations.
It was the ancient Greeks who called the monument Persepolis, 'City of the Persians'. It was built on a large terrace that was partly carved out of the rocks and has three levels. Persepolis is regarded as one of the crown jewels of Persian architecture, but it also displays artistic styles and techniques drawn from other cultures, such as those of Ancient Egypt and Assyria.
The exhibition Fascination with Persepolis is taken place in the Muzezaal (Muse Room) of the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden). The content is based on the dissertation of the same title by Corrine Vuurman. Her book on the subject is also presented at the museum.
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